Adventure is Out There: Day 3
Principle 3: START WITH WHAT YOU DO HAVE
“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
– Matthew 14:21
Read: Matthew 14:13-21
This is such a treasured story told over and over again in Sunday school classrooms, from the pulpit, by parents tucking their children in at night, and by so many others in a wide variety of forums. As it was with the parable of the talents we read in day one of this five-day devotional series this story holds many lessons for us. For our purposes we will focus in on the disciples. Specifically on their response and reaction to the news they have just received from their rabbi that it will be them who are responsible for arranging a meal for the large crowd that has gathered. “Us? You mean we should do it?” I can virtually hear the whining tone in their collective voice, “But, Jesus we only have five leaves of bread and two fish.” Here’s the narrative running through their minds, at least in my opinion, “Jesus, you are crazy. Ain’t no way some ten thousand people are getting fed. It just ain’t happening.”
They are the glass half empty sort, I guess you could say. Or maybe a kinder way to put it is, they’re realists. And to be honest, under the circumstances, who could blame them?
We’ve been working through this very thing with our son lately. About every time we tell Wesley he’s going to get to experience something new (I’m not talking about brussel sprouts here I’m talking about a Disney Cruise) before we’re even finished explaining what the adventure might entail, he’s blurted, “I’m not going to like that” or, “That sounds awful.” I wish I was exaggerating but he generally tends to operate in extremes. Something’s either really awesome or it was (or will be) the worst experience of his entire life. And which sentiment he offers an explanation which often doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. My husband has been coaching him lately on how to change the setting on his default mode from pessimism to optimism. I’m not sure how well these pep talks are working. Time will tell.
We can be like that to, can’t we? Especially when it comes to goals and resolutions in the New Year ahead. I think many of us tend to adopt the “glass half empty” mentality.
“I want to change my eating habits but I’ll never be able to afford organic.”
“Everyone is always judging me at the gym, I can tell by the way they look at me.”
“Starting my own business is something other people do. What! You think money grows on trees?”
What Jesus teaches us in this story is that when faced with a daunting task we should choose to focus on what we do have instead of what we don’t. Sure there are only five fishes and two loaves of bread and ten thousand to feed but at least there are five fishes and two loaves of bread. The bottom line; start with what you do have.
So maybe you don’t have a gym membership but you have a pair of running shoes and access to the Internet. In a world full of about a billion trainers with Instagram and YouTube workouts that’s all you really need.
Maybe you don’t have a large grant or endowment to start the non-profit you’ve been dreaming of launching for the last five years but what you do have is your heart and passion for your cause. Start with the resources you have before you and the rest will work itself out.
If Jesus can take five fishes and two loaves and turn them into enough food for five thousand just think about what He can do for you. Give him what you have and let Him do what only he can do, multiply it.